- Last Updated: 1:36 AM, September 24, 2012
- Posted: 1:36 AM, September 24, 2012
BAUCHI, Nigeria — A suicide car bomber attacked a Catholic church during Mass in northern Nigeria yesterday, killing two people and wounding 45 in a region under assault by a radical Islamist sect, officials said.
An Associated Press journalist heard the explosion after 9 a.m. in the city of Bauchi, which has seen several bombings and shootings, blamed on the sect Boko Haram. The blast appeared to hit a parking lot alongside St. John’s Catholic Church.
Police and military surrounded the church and did not allow journalists inside the cordon. Later, at a nearby hospital, Bauchi Deputy Police Commissioner T. Stevens said the bomber had been stopped at the church’s gate, where he detonated the explosives packed inside his car.
“The situation has been brought under control,” Stevens said. “We have our men minding all areas.”
Stevens said no group or individual had claimed responsibility for the attack, although suspicion immediately fell on Boko Haram. The sect, whose name means “Western education is sacrilege” in the Hausa language of Nigeria’s north, has been waging a bloody fight against the nation’s weak central government.
This year, more than 680 people have died in drive-by killings and bombings blamed on the sect , according to an AP count.